The Federal Government, through Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, has extended the ban earlier placed on flights from Brazil, Turkey, and India by four weeks.
It explained that the additional four weeks extension followed the surge in the listed countries and that the measure had been taken to protect Nigerians and build on gains recorded against the killer disease.
The Secretary to Government of the Federation and Chairman, PSC on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, noted that the extension was due to the prevalence of variants of concern and the dangers associated with the importation of such virulent strain.
Speaking at the national briefing in Abuja yesterday, Mustapha the PSC has been reviewing the restrictions and was of the opinion that they should remain for another four weeks before it was further reviewed.
He noted that the existing ban on incoming flights from Brazil, India, and Turkey would continue and that South Africa has been added to the list, noting that anyone who had been in those three countries within 14 days of their intended arrival date in Nigeria would be barred from entering the country.
Mustapha disclosed that South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Namibia, and Uganda were being monitored as the COVID-19 cases were increasing there.
“In addition to these three countries, the PSC has also shifted its focus on some African countries. South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Namibia, and Uganda fall in this category. South Africa for example, recorded over 100,000 cases in the last week while 20,000 was recorded in the last 24 hours.
”The four major variants of concern are now classified as Alpha (UK), Beta (SA); Gamma (Brazil) and Delta (India). The Delta variant which has wreaked devastating havoc, is not yet found in Nigeria hence the need to tighten our borders and be more vigilant,” the SGF said.
He said that about six months ago, following the violation of the COVID-19 protocols by some inbound passengers to Nigeria, their travel documents were barred for a period of six months.
According to him, we have received several appeals from those affected while we counselled on the importance of compliance with rules and regulations.
”The six-month period of ban for the first batch of 100 is almost complete and we use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that sanctions will be imposed on violators of measures put in place to protect them and safeguard our nation.
”For over six months, federal government employees on GL 12 and below have been observing work-from-home instructions. This restriction remains in place until further notice in order to avert a third wave,” Mustapha added.